The #BornAndMade campaign is celebrating women. And it's fantastic.

This is the message we should be hearing.

Maybe you've seen pics of some of your friends' beautiful faces with writing over them like this in your social media feed the past few days:


Photo by #BornAndMade, used with permission.

So far, over 50,000 people have made pics like those above and there's a great reason why.

Being a woman isn't always easy. (Stick with me here.)

We're constantly getting messages, both subtle and quite overt, telling us who to be: how to dress, how to do our hair, what size we should be, what tone of voice we should use when we speak, and even what words we should choose.

But you know what we should actually be? Ourselves! Fully, boldly, and proudly ourselves.

That's why Lisa Price, founder of hair and skin-care company Carol's Daughter, and Emily Greener, co-founder of the nonprofit I Am That Girl, teamed up to create the #BornAndMade campaign.

They're showing us who to be in the best way possible by helping us reflect on who we already are and encouraging us to share that with the world.

The purpose of the #BornAndMade campaign is quite simple: to encourage girls and women to be who they were born and made to be.

"I want every woman and girl to know she has worth, she is not insignificant in this world. She just needs to understand who she is," Price told me.

"I want every woman and girl to know she has worth, she is not insignificant in this world. She just needs to understand who she is."

"That means knowing who you were born and made to be, but then determining where you want to take that knowledge. It can empower you in unexpected ways."

It's a great campaign for girls and women alike. Just visit the site, upload a photo, fill in the blanks, and share.

Even my daughter made one:

My husband's and my amazing daughter, who is so proud of who she is.

I love campaigns like this. As a mom, I want to raise my daughter to be herself — and to remain proud of who she is, in spite of the messaging that often plants seeds of self-doubt. As Greener told me, "Beauty is the goodness inside you that comes out of you and impacts the world, starting with your own world."

"I want girls out there to celebrate every fiber that makes them unique, to recognize that they can be who they were born and made to be, not who they're supposed to be," Price added.

Let's drown out the negatives with confidence and pride in ourselves.

This campaign is taking off, with women sharing their #BornAndMade photos all over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram:




When it comes to beauty, we all have it. "Beauty is inherent in every single person. It cannot be added or taken away. It shines from within us and touches every person we meet," Price said.

"Part of what I love about this campaign is that the words are over what we would normally perceive to be our beauty. Our face, eyes, smile, hair. The words are our power and the representation of the beauty that is shining through them."

As for the negative messages we get all the time, Greener has some great advice: "Surround yourself with a community that reminds you who you are (and who you're capable of being) every single day, who make it safe for you to say the things that are true for you in any given moment, and who support you in all of the moments along your own personal journey — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the gorgeous."

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Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

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Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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